Still from “Hook and Eye”, collaboration with @cianholt , 5:10 minutes part of the “Zan, Zendegi, Azadi” (Woman, Life, Freedom) exhibition currrently on at @ladderartspace
This video work follows three women as they purposefully walk through a dark, deserted urban landscape to explore ideas of women, freedom and night.
The footage used to create this video was filmed collaboratively by Carolina Arsenii and @cianholt and involved hours of traipsing through the coastal northern suburban streets of Perth. Only a fraction of the footage filmed was used. The creation of this video required us to visit sites that may be traditionally considered dangerous for women such as suburban streets, underpasses and parkland in the dark of the night. We felt we were only able to be out in the night with the safety of each other’s company, but the video depicts an ideal world where women walk at night alone without feeling unsafe. In some ways, by the making of the video, we were taking a step towards creating this reality.
The video is currently on as part of the Zan, Zendegi, Azadi (Woman, Life, Freedom) group exhibition at @ladderartspace curated by @elnazceramics together with the Ladder Art Space gallery.
Our video is created in Australia, a very different political and social context than that of Iran, which we can only attempt to understand from afar. However, the ideas explored in the video are about the freedoms of women generally, and the idea of each generation of women opening up freedoms for the next. As Australian women, we stand in solidarity with the women of Iran, and all women. We admire and support the women of Iran as they bravely fight for their freedoms, their resilience, determination and the brighter future they are driving towards.
There are connotations of witches, as the first scene opens with a swamp. Witches are a group who has historically been blamed for ills on evils of society. The women in the video, like witches, come out at night and engage in research and ritual. The motif of the dotted line, sewing and the circle appears throughout the work.
The symbolic motifs throughout the video are not something that can be directly interpreted as a single thing, in the same way symbols change their meaning over generations the circle can be interpreted in multiple ways. Vaguely reminiscent of the moon, dressmaking, map-making, the objects are used by each women in a novel way. There is a general pattern of reinvention, the circle is found and cut, in the same way that concepts need to be taken and reinterpreted. As the video progresses each woman engages with these motifs in a different way, opening up possibilities for the next women to come after her.
Group Exhibition Statement by @elnazceramics
The advancement of globalization has led to growing interdependence between nations, whereby their ideologies and cultures are constantly fused. This has, in turn, augmented the understanding between mankind and made them part of a larger whole – humanity. A key element that facilitates the conversation between human beings, regardless of their nationality and language, is art. Art has the capacity to, in its own way, give expression to human sufferings and challenges in the face of conflicts, and facilitate the dialogue between nations.
The ‘Zan, Zendegi, Azadi’ exhibition is an artistic attempt that aims to portray the current women’s & freedom movement in Iran, make their voices resonate across the world, and convey Iranians’ emotions. In doing so, it hopes to represent a realistic image of the courageous acts, sacrifices, and resistance of Iranians while their suppressive government is ceaselessly attempting to choke their voices by shutting down the Internet. More than eight centuries ago, the famous Iranian poet, Saadi, wrote that “if you have no sympathy for human pain, the name of human you cannot retain”. It is hoped that this exhibition increases understanding about and, by extension, sympathy for Iranians.